Advent Santa run smashes fundraising target for bereavement charity

Tom Rance Stand-by-me fundraising

Tom Rance, centre right in Santa suit, Stand-by-me Young Ambassadors & Trustees (in purple), and Hitchin Belles Under 8s Football team - Credit: Stand-by-me

A teacher and supporter of Stand-by-me Bereavement Support has donned his Santa Claus costume to run 2.5km every day in aid of the charity. 

Tom Rance was joined this week by the Young Ambassadors of Stand-by-me Bereavement Support, along with girls from the Hitchin Belles Under-8s football team, as he continued his Advent challenge.

He has been making the trek throughout December, and will continue to do so until Christmas Day.

The Hitchin-based charity supports bereaved children, young people and their families in North Herts and Stevenage.

With just over a week to go of his festive challenge, Tom is still going strong and spent Thursday evening running at The Hertfordshire FA County Ground in Letchworth - cheered on by trustees and supporters of Stand-by-me.

Tom, who is also a manager for Hitchin Belles Football Club, had initially hoped to raise around £250 for his efforts - however, he has already smashed that target and now hopes to raise at least £1,500.

His fundraising page currently stands at just over £1,200.

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Tom explained that he wanted to do something that would help the community but also to “put a smile on people’s faces.”

Although a Santa suit may not be ideal running gear, Tom says that the discomfort of the suit is more than made up for by the reaction of the people he meets on his daily runs:

“By far the best bit about doing this challenge is people waving and supporting me as I run past," he said.

"Even on my early morning runs people wave from their windows – it’s amazing.”

The team at Stand-by-me - who have recently announced BBC TV personality, Billy Byrne as their first Patron - is delighted that Tom has chosen to support the charity.

Stand-by-me chair of trustees, Ian Cotterill said: “We are so grateful to Tom in supporting Stand-by-me in his fantastic effort - all the money raised will go directly to helping children and young people in dealing with the loss of a loved one at such a difficult time of the year.”

To support Tom, go to justgiving.com/fundraising/standbymesantarun.

To find out more about Stand-by-me, go to www.standby.me.

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